Splurging: $0

Tightwads sometimes splurge, as a reward for being thrifty most of the time. I am against splurging, though. Here's my story. 

A splurge, by definition, is an extravagant expenditure on yourself. While I have no problem, per se, with getting things for yourself, a splurge entails something that is not necessary, and that you realize is an extravagance.

Trash picking and Dumpster-diving is fun!
Considering how wasteful the average American is, you can fill nearly every need and most desires at minimal cost, even free, by taking advantage of others' surplus. I wait for these serendipitous moments when I stumble upon something highly pleasing. An example of this is when my husband and I discussed getting a park bench for our yard, but instead of splurging, we decided to wait; two hours later, I found one along the curb a couple blocks from home. This bench has served us as well as a purchased one, with the added fun of knowing it was free. I would encourage everyone to see a great trash-picked or other no-cost find as a free "indulgence." Not everything can be found within a few hours. Sometimes it takes an incredible amount of patience, which makes it all the more pleasing when your patience is rewarded. Just  because you don't spend on stuff, doesn't mean you won't come up with wonderful things.

Most people have nice places to visit within a few hours of home.
You cannot fulfill every desire free or at minimal cost--restaurant meals and pricey vacations quickly jump into my mind. For these things, I employed a different mindset. When I had debt, I would forgo every extravagance for the greater good of becoming debt-free. It can be done rather quickly if you set your mind to it. That would mean camping nearby instead of a family trip to Disney World, or eating out either never (since I learned to cook, I have found that I prefer my own cooking, anyway), or maybe once or twice a year, when my parents were treating the whole family for an event. If you like to eat out, try sharing meals with friends, taking turns as to who will be the host.

Being debt-free is a reward unto itself, far more satisfying than any old splurge can ever be. While we were in debt, I didn't splurge and I didn't feel deprived. I kept my mind on the goal, which for me was not having to work outside the home, and for my musician husband not to need a "day job." The achievement takes the place of the splurge. Having paid off our home, we don't have to go to jobs we dislike, and have ample free time. We achieved this in eight years since graduating college, even earning a starving-artist living as classical musicians.

We continue to monitor our spending in order to be able to give and to build up a good nest egg and a trust fund for our son with autism--good thing I think it's fun to be frugal! Other people have different goals, but if you think of splurging as a derailment of your efforts to reach a worthwhile goal, it makes it easier to avoid temptation. When I resist the urge to splurge, I feel like I am achieving something, not that I am going without. And when I come up with a fun free find or experience, I remember that personal satisfaction rarely requires spending.


  1. Well written and the words.....seem to come from my heart! : )
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I feel the same way, and I love the article in Grand Rapids Press. Can you tell I have become a fan? :)


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